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Tickers in this Article: UTIW, ARII, AAWW, HOS, GWR, KEX, SSW
The market is on the rise this morning. The Nasdaq is up 1.9%; the S&P 500 has risen 1.8%; and the Dow has climbed 1.7%. The transportation sector is a category of stocks relating to the transportation of goods or customers. It is made up of airlines, railroads and trucking companies. The performance of the transportation sector is sensitive to the price of oil. Because operations revolve around the use of vehicles, fuel prices represent a significant cost to transportation companies. As the price of oil rises, transportation companies will be expected to earn less. Inversely, these companies do well when the cost of fuel decreases.

Underperforming the market overall, the Transportation sector (IYT) is up 1.8%, and these are its current biggest movers:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
UTi Worldwide (Nasdaq:UTIW)$1.39 billion+10.8%
American Railcar Industries (Nasdaq:ARII)$602.6 million+5.2%
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (Nasdaq:AAWW)$1.36 billion+4.9%
Hornbeck Offshore Services (NYSE:HOS)$1.36 billion+3.8%
Genesee & Wyoming (NYSE:GWR)$2.72 billion+2.9%
Kirby (NYSE:KEX)$3.13 billion+2.2%
Seaspan (NYSE:SSW)$1.05 billion-2.2%
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UTi Worldwide (Nasdaq:UTIW) is currently at $14.90 per share after a dramatic increase of 10.8%. So far today, the company's volume is 466,403 shares, 1.9 times its current daily average. Volume is also used as a secondary indicator to help confirm what the price movement is suggesting. When estimating the value of a particular investment, valuation ratios provide a good basis for assessing the value of an individual stock. A company's capitalization (not to be confused with its market capitalization) is the term used to describe the makeup of a company's permanent or long-term capital, which consists of both long-term debt and shareholders' equity. The capitalizion ratio of 19.7% is on the low end. Low leverage is a significant balance sheet strength, a sign of a less risky investment. The capitalization ratio is one of the more meaningful debt ratios because it focuses on the relationship of debt liabilities as a component of a company's total capital base, which is the capital raised by shareholders and lenders.

American Railcar Industries (Nasdaq:ARII) has risen 5.2% to hit a current price of $29.70 per share. So far today, 17,426 shares have changed hands. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest. A company's investment value can be estimated using valuation ratios such as the price to earnings (P/E) ratio, the price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio, the price to sales (P/S) ratio, the price to book (P/B) ratio, and the dividend yield. The debt ratio gives users a quick measure of the amount of debt that the company has on its balance sheets compared to its assets. ARII's debt ratio is 56.1%. As with all financial ratios, a company's debt ratio should be compared with the industry average or similar companies.

After an increase of 4.9%, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (Nasdaq:AAWW) has reached a current price of $53.94. The company's volume for the day so far is 134,635 shares, 0.7 times the average volume over the last three months. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move. Investors can make use of valuation ratios to estimate whether a stock is fairly valued. The assumption with high price/earnings stocks (generally of the growth variety) is that investors are willing to buy at a high price because they believe that the stock has significant growth potential, and the price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio helps investors determine the degree of reliability of that growth assumption. AAWW has a PEG ratio of 0.82, which is consistent with the industry average. While P/E ratios are important indicators of market value, a high P/E in and of itself is not bad because it may indicate a company whose earnings are growing very rapidly, so many investors look at the PEG ratio in order to get an idea of whether or not a particular P/E ratio is justified by underlying earnings growth.

Hornbeck Offshore Services (NYSE:HOS) is currently trading at $39.84 per share, a 3.8% increase. So far today, 105,227 shares of the company's stock have changed hands. This is on pace to fall short of yesterday's volume of 472,393 shares. Volume is an important indicator in technical analysis as it is used to measure the worth of a market move. If the markets have made a strong price move either up or down the perceived strength of that move depends on the volume for that period. The higher the volume during that price move the more significant the move. While investment valuation ratios are useful tools in estimating the attractiveness of an investment, remember that it is important to look at a company's historical performance and compare the company ratios with its competitors and industry overall. The price/book value ratio provides a way of evaluating whether a stock is relatively cheap or expensive. HOS' stock is trading for more than its book value with a P/B ratio of 1.29. This may be a sign that the company is overvalued. P/B value ratios are particularly useful to value investors, distressed or "vulture" investors, or any other investors purchasing beaten-down securities but are less useful to investors focused on growth stocks, purchasing IPOs, or investing in technology or other "asset-lite" companies. SEE: How Buybacks Warps The Price-To-Book Ratio

Genesee & Wyoming (NYSE:GWR) has increased to a share price of $65.26, a 2.9% rise. At 167,406 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.9 times the average daily volume. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator. Investors can use valuation ratios as tools to estimate what kind of deal a particular investment is. A price/sales ratio is derived by dividing stock market price by company sales. The P/S ratio for GWR is a high 3.42. This could be a good sign if the share price increases. A limitation of the P/S ratio is that the price component measures only stock market captialization, while sales are a function of the entire capital structure, potentially leading to wide differences between levered and unlevered companies.

Kirby (NYSE:KEX) has risen 2.2% and is currently trading at $57.24 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 171,919 shares. If a stock is trading on low volume, then there is not much interest in the stock. On the other hand, if a stock is trading on high volume, then there is a lot of interest in the stock. In making a decision about a potential or existing investment, valuation ratios are useful as a basis for seeing whether the stock price is too high, reasonable, or a bargain. Perhaps one of the most widely-used stock analysis tools is the price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E. KEX's P/E ratio of 15.1 is above the industry average of 6.79. Generally speaking, the higher the P/E ratio, the higher the market expectations for a company's future performance. A high P/E ratio indicates a stock that is expensive, while a low P/E ratio indicates a stock that is cheap. SEE: How To Find P/E And PEG Ratios

At $16.31, Seaspan (NYSE:SSW) has slipped 2.2%. At 50,445 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.4 times the current three-month average. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one. Investment valuation ratios can be very useful in estimating whether a stock price is too high, reasonable or a bargain investment opportunity. The debt-equity (D/E) ratio is a measurement of how much suppliers, lenders, creditors and obligors have committed to the company versus what the shareholders have committed. The D/E ratio for SSW is 283%. Generally, a high D/E ratio means that the company may have difficulty generating enough cash to pay off its debts. The D/E ratio percentage provides a much more dramatic perspective on a company's leverage position than the debt ratio percentage.

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. Keep in mind that all these ratios should be compared against historical numbers and industry information in order to get a more complete picture.

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